Dream homes – everybody has one. From cliff-side modern marvels to majestic traditional mansions and waterside homes with enviable views, a dream house has the elements to elevate your lifestyle. Look through HomeDSGN’s collection of featured dream homes and be inspired for your next upgrade or remodel…or just fantasize about living in them!
House Usuki by Kenta Eto provides a unique and unparalleled view of Japanese city from its dramatically sloped roof
By Courtney • Jan 11, 2019
Some houses are built solely for style or visual design, and that can be a beautiful thing! Others, however, have a slightly more functional or abstract inspiration behind their design, and that often still results in something with amazing shaped and character. That’s precisely the case with House Usuki, designed and built by Kenta Eto.
With this wonderfully unique housing project, designers aimed to harmonize environmental scale and human scale in one place. The plot of land it sits on, nestled in the rolling hills of Usuki City, in Japan’s Oita prefecture, is the perfect place for such a goal! This is thanks to the stunningly uneven, mountainous terrain surrounding the area, which is scattered with fields and houses that sit at all different levels.
To achieve their scale based goals, designers operated from a rather simple concept: to utilize the natural topography of the land and the difference in levels it presents actively in their project, seeing as the site their chose sits angled as though you’re going down the mountain.
The intention of the home’s dramatic slope, besides just standing out for being unique, was actually to avoid disturbing the impressive landscape upon which it sits. Instead, appears to slope with the natural shape of the hill it sits on, inclined at approximately 24 degrees from the top all the way down to the ground.
This fantastic angle actually allows dwellers and guests to climb to the very top of the house from ground level on the outside! Because the angle is actually quite long and gentle rather than severe, one can easily sit or lie down on this unique roof, making it the perfect place to take in the sunset or absorb the mountain view surrounding you.
The outside of the house is by no means the only impressive aspect! Inside, the house is split into two floors. On the ground floor, you’ll be greeted by an expansive kitchen, a comfortable living room, a irresistible master bedroom, and even a wet area. The top floor is reserved for an exciting hobby room and the kids’ rooms, giving the house a sense of functional organization.
Also on the ground floor is a lovely, grassy courtyard space. This sits recessed into the base of the outside slope, like a bright, friendly patio connecting the inside and outside spaces in an open, freeing kind of way. Past the doors going into the patio, the support beams are functional and exposed in a way that is simple, practical, and quite appealing. Timber eaves give the space an honest, pleasantly homey approach.
Photographs provided by architect.
ARTE S by SPARK Architects provides guests with a uniquely shaped residential escape and sunshine space
By Courtney • Jan 8, 2019
In the busy urban centre in Pinang, Malaysia, SPARK Architects recently created the visually stunning ARTE S building, a luxury residential building that resembles a spa and pool resort, giving residents a place to escape in the middle of the city.
Located in Jalan Bukit Gambier, near the better city of George Town, this project includes a pair of tall, undulating condominium towers that boast 460 residential units between them. The taller tower of the two is stands 180 metres tall and can be seen off the island from the mainland clearly in the distance.
Bukit Gambir is a lush topical mountain located right at the heart of Pengang Island, which lies off the Western coast of Malaysia. The towers are incredibly unique in the way their facade undulates at each layer. This lovely effect was intended to mimic the dramatic topography of the land surrounding the buildings, which varies between steeply rising hillsides and low coastlines.
Besides just undulating, the towers also appeared layered where the balconies sit. This mimics the mountainous landscape as well, with the graduated terrace effect mirroring the gradient of the rock faces. This effect was achieved using a construction technique called elliptical floor plating, which builders augmented with an added waveform birse-soleil that very carefully, subtly, and precisely rotated each floor a particular degree to give the buildings their twisted appearance.
Besides looking amazing in themselves, the towers are built with the intention of offering the best view of the ocean that one can find anywhere on the island. The taller of the two climbs 50 storeys high, while the shorter rises only 32. In each one, the penthouses at the top are sculpted from the final three floorplates.
On the very top of the highest tower sits a sky garden that incorporates two pebble-form recreational “resident club” pods. In the larger one, up to 60 people can be accommodated for events while the smaller hanging pod is home to luxury jacuzzi. Together the two pods create a wonderfully dramatic visual fro, the ground that acts as a signature for the building while also providing residents with an unparalleled view of George Town and the Straight of Pengang.
Inside, the units are entirely designed for flexibility and tropical living. They are open concept with no beams or poles, meaning they can be arranged in any way and at any time. The units are also specifically designed to bring in light and air naturally, eliminating the need for air conditioning and thereby saving hydro costs. In the common areas, the spaces are naturally ventilated and day-lit as well.
Around the building, several perimeter gardens have been planted at the base. These shroud the residential car park in lovely, local tropical plants that thrive in the area’s climate and would grow nearby naturally. This lovely green life contrasts beautifully with the modern appearance of the buildings and their shape, creating more texture for the eye to take in.
Of course, the pools at the base of the towers are an immediately noticeable primary feature. Their clear blue water attracts the eye and gives off a stunning reflection that mirrors the undulating visual motion of the buildings, enticing just about anyone who sets eyes on them and letting calming shapes set the atmosphere.
Photographs by LinHo
By Courtney • Jan 3, 2019
Perched beautifully on the coast in Nova Scotia, Canada, Teph Inlet house was created by Omar Gandhi Architect as a sun filled family holiday home for enjoying warm summers in once that notorious Canadian winter melts away for the year.
One of the most notable features of this home is the entirely glazed glass ground floor. This visually open structure gives guests an unparalleled view of the Nova Scotian coast. Built specifically for a young family, the house sits right besides the ocean in the small Eastern Canadian village of Chester.
Two separate buildings sit on the property of Teph Inlet house. The first is a two storey main house with full amenities and the second is a smaller guest house. Both buildings are cuboid in their shape and each one faces onto a stunning swimming pool with a paved outdoor space surrounding it and spots where guests can enjoy both sun and shade, depending on their preference.
A little further back from the pool house, a garage lines up along its side, creating another outdoor space. This is a linear shaped sports area where guests and family can enjoy a whole plethora of fun outdoor activities, the most exciting of which is definitely the zip line! Beyond that, a rear terrace is open to the harbour filled with boats while tall trees give a neighbouring grassy plot some cool shade from the sun.
As if the house didn’t feature enough outdoor space already, the fantastic floor to ceiling glass panels we mentioned earlier, which make up the walls of the whole ground floor in the main house, actually slide back to open that storey entirely to the fresh air. A lovely stone deck sits right on their other side of those sliding doors, blending with the living and dining rooms and kitchen.
Also on the ground floor is an en suite bedroom and bathroom that’s perfect for guests because a pocket door can slide out and separate that part of the house entirely, almost like an additional private volume. There and in the main stairwell, more double-height glass walls give the house plenty of natural light no matter the time of year.
Up a set of floating white oak stairs, which sit underneath some stunning sky lights, is a master suit that features a walk-in closet and its own bathroom. Three more bedrooms and two additional bathrooms call the upper storey home as well, making Teph Inlet house a fantastic place for hosting plenty of summertime guests.
The colour palette and decor schemes are both clean, calm, and befitting of a coastal holiday home. Teph Inlet house features herringbone patterned light oak flooring, countless stark white surfaces throughout, and details made in stone and natural tile. These keep things looking clean and simplistic without being void of decorative style.
Photographs by Ema Peter
La Ferme du Lac Vert renovation takes historical farmhouse from rustic to inspirational luxury in South-Eastern France
By Courtney • Dec 28, 2018
Near Morzine, in South-Eastern France, lies a small, picturesque village called Montriond. This is where a local French design and architectural company recently renovated a beautiful old farmhouse into a luxurious home that preserves all its beautiful history despite impressive and necessary updates.
The original wooden farmhouse, most of which has been incorporated into and preserved within the new design, was built in 1842. In 2010, however, it underwent a lovely transformation that turned it into the stately and distinguished (yet somehow still homey) Savoyard Farmhouse you’d see if you visited Montriond today.
Having repurposed and continued to use most of the original wood, in combination with locally sourced timber where new or additional wood was needed, designers kept much of the home’s original rustic aesthetic. This is bolstered by the inclusion of antique or ethically sourced furs and animal hides, much like you would have seen in the original 1800s home.
At the same time as this rustic aesthetic has been preserved, the decor team aimed to update the interior slightly to provide all the comfort of a more contemporary style of living. Social spaces boast large fire places and bar stool seating, while the deck features a large hot tub that provides a stunning view of the mountainous French countryside around the house.
In some of the best spots in the house, which are primarily those with a clear eye line of the hugely picturesque windows, the views are nothing short of breathtaking. Thats why some of the most impressive handmade furniture pieces are situated so they face towards the windows. The rooms are a lovely blend of vintage pieces, upcycled furniture from local places, and original furnishings that have a history in that very space, which adds and extra layer of character.
By Courtney • Dec 21, 2018
Nestled in the countryside of Highlands, North Carolina, design professionals at RMT Architects have transformed an old, weathered, and rustic barn into the breathtakingly comfortable Timber Frame Barn House. Built in partnership with Ronnie D. Waller Construction, the vintage looking farmland home features 3,587 square feet of inviting living spaces and down home comfort.
Upon walking into the great room, you’ll encounter a stunning open concept layouts and an impressive metal spiral staircase traveling upward to the mezzanine. Rather than being airy, the great room stays warm and cozy despite its layout thanks to a beautifully placed stone fireplace that covers the full height of the room from floor to ceiling. The floor is kept warm as well in the home’s current decor scheme by a spacious area rug. This cushions the feet of guests while also adding pattern and texture to the room. The rug also marks a visual separation between the living room seating and the dining room without actually cutting off the nice open space between the two.
Besides having an open-space aesthetic that creates a sense of harmony between the rooms and makes hosting guests easy, this barn house also features pocketing glass doors in the dining room that open right out onto a comfortable patio seating area. This helps create a sense of cohesiveness between indoor and outdoor settings as well. Dwellers and guests can flow easily from room to room and from indoor areas to fresh air seamlessly.
In contrast with the warm, pleasant interior, which is undoubtedly rustic vintage influenced but feels whole and new, the exterior of the house is quite clearly the actual facade of an old barn. The original timber is still in place, but safely bolstered by frame updates and renovations.
The barn house’s exterior isn’t the only place you’ll find wood! Inside, the floors are actually a unique combination of wood and concrete, keeping things solid but natural. First the wood was installed and then the concrete was poured, using the wood as a framework, and stained to create a cohesive colour story.
In terms of decor, you’ll encounter all kinds of homey touches throughout the house that really drive the whole “rustic farm” aesthetic home in a way that’s beautiful and explicit rather than tacky and overdone. Cowhide rugs and homemade patchwork quilts in the bedrooms are the perfect example of this. These are things you might have seen in any old farm house, modern or vintage, but they make particular sense here in the way they play off the rustic wooden interior that follows from the floor, up the walls and supports, and right across the ceiling.
The part of the home that perhaps makes the “barn house” concept most explicit and whole is the authentic remaining barn door itself. On the outside of modern doors with glass insets and safe locks, an actual set of large, wooden barn doors closes just like they might have when the barn housed farm animals and farming tools and supplies originally. Once the barn doors have swung open, the glass doors can roll like sliding panels to disappear entirely on warm days, giving the entryway and even more authentically rustic feel when only the big barn doors remain.
In oder to stop the large, wooden home from feeling too dark at any point, bright ceiling lights abound all throughout. Designers place inset lamps and stylish pendant lights in each room and on the porch to make sure guests and dwellers are never in the dark, even on days that are too chilly for indoor-outdoor experiences and leaving the barn doors open for a nice breeze.
Mimicking the beautiful fireplace and seating in the great room, this barn house’s porch also features fantastic rustic inspired seating and a beautiful stone fireplace! This lets guests enjoy the surrounding woodland area any time they please without getting too cold, making the fire both functional and great for ambiance. This setup sits on a beautifully solid cedar deck that overlooks the yard bordered in natural greenery.
Photographs by Eric Morley
Stunning Swedish Home Villa Wennerström Blends Wood and Natural Granite Thanks to Max Holst Arkitektkontor
By Courtney • Dec 20, 2018
In order to create the breathtaking Villa Wennerström, designers and architects at Max Holst Arkitektkontor harnessed the beauty of the topography Stockholm, Sweden. The result was a grand home structure that perfectly blends and contrasts natural granite and woods like oak and pine; a combination which is reflected in the scene around the house as well.
The goal in building and decorating this house was to draw guests’ eyes to the similarities and differences between not only the natural materials used in building, but also between the house and the land it sits on. Clear, strong architectural shapes were also used, making the house stand out from its surroundings despite being built from those very things. The stone coloured wooden facade and the way the building splits into two distinct looking but connected structures are the perfect examples of these goals being achieved with great beauty.
In the first portion of the house, you’ll find the more functional aspects of a home and the areas where you’d typically do things together as a family or host guests. These include the kitchen, dining room, and living room. Moving onto the second “volume” of the home, you’ll encounter spaces that might be used for more independent things, like sleep, work, and media or private relaxation. The rooms and parts of the house are far from cut off from each other, and yet the areas remain distinct in a way that makes sense. After all, separating public and private areas offers a logical change in atmosphere from room to room!
In terms of the home’s physicality, each of the two volumes of the house is angled slightly in a way that not only simplified the construction of the house, but also gives guests and dwellers a better view of the lovely natural topography surrounding the home.
Besides the granite flooring and the wooden walls and furniture, Villa Wennerström incorporates nature in a way that feels almost cohesive between interior and exterior thanks to stunning floor to ceiling windows. This gives one side of the house what essentially looks like a glass wall, which in turn allows sunlight to spill into the central living and eating areas. This is also partially thanks to the way the volumes of the house are angled, as we mentioned before.
Overall, the entire project is a stunning example of how functional and whimsical elements can be blended un innovative ways to create experiences in all kinds of manners, including architecturally!
Photographs by Lars Grafstrom
By Courtney • Dec 20, 2018
Recently, innovative Vietnamese design team Mét Vuong Studio took on an architectural project in Dong Hoi, Vietnam that had a slightly more unique goal than usual. Rather than just building an average family home, these designers sought to create a haven where family members can escape the hustle and bustle of busy life at the end of the day and thoroughly enjoy their space and each other’s company, letting them feel rejuvenated and refreshed to tackle each morning. That’s how PH House came to be!
PH House is a two story dwelling built for two married professionals and their children; a son and a daughter. Despite being located in the thick of fast paced, urban life, giving the family access to everything they need in their modern lifestyle, it is also an escape for the mind, body, and soul when the day is done.
In their design process, this team made their primary goal one of shared time and calming space. They strove to create a home where the family might return from a long day of work and study and gather together to catch up, eat, or relaxed and recollect. This intent is clear in the presence of a beautiful central room that features a comfortable seating area, distraction free space, and calming koi pond right in the middle of the house.
Besides providing the family with great shared space, these designers also emphasized the value of comfortable and cheerful personal space as well. As such, each family member’s bedroom has been customized to reflect their personality and style, making each room really feel like a home within their shared home.
In order to bolster this idea of home relaxation and winding down even further, Met Vuong Studio extended the idea of incorporating natural elements into an urban house even further than the featured koi pond. Guests will also find an abundance of refreshing plant life and greenery right there in the house, as well as structures and elements made from entirely natural materials. Throughout the house, materials such as wood, steel, concrete, brick, and stone play off each other and create both contrast and cohesiveness.
The drive to use as many beautiful natural materials in this project’s construction was actually two fold. Besides establishing a healthy, calming atmosphere in the home, these materials also enabled designers to buy supplies locally, eliminating unnecessary costs and boosting local economic participation.
As if all this wasn’t enough to create a place that’s perfect for unwinding in after a long day, features like skylights, large windows, and open-air transition spaces that blend interior and exterior elements of the home let a fresh breeze and sunlight permeate each room. Thanks to several cutout walls and the presence of stone based materials, however, no privacy or safety is sacrificed.
Photographs by Công Lý Phạm
By Courtney • Dec 19, 2018
At the height of the French Alps, near the village of Megeve, architect Lionel Jadot has designed and built the stunning Alpine Cabin. This cabin mirrors the beauty of its mountainous surroundings by perfectly blending natural materials, primarily stone and wood, in its exterior design.
This breathtaking cabin is nestled high up in the mountains themselves, giving guests and dwellers a clear view of Mont Blanc on the distant horizon. The new cabin has been restored from an already existing structure made almost entirely of natural, local wood. Rather than feeling like a mere cabin in the stereotypical sense, where one might stay for only a few days and feel a cold draft most days, this stunning structure was created with the intention of balancing its surrounding environment in a more idyllic, long term way.
now, the updated cabin is equipped with roofed carports, chimneys that warm the home and give off an old fashioned (but safe) smoke that creates a wooded aroma and contrasts against the crisp, white landscape. There is also an access ramp that makes the cabin safe and simple for any visitor to enter, but this feature is make of bamboo instead of wood for durability and strength. Overall, the exterior of the cabin resembles a lovely Christmas scene.
There’s a lot more to this house, however, than meets the eye. Besides being an adorable looking winter cabin retreat, this building is actually also an important rehabilitation project. This is because design teams made sustainability and ecology in the natural space an absolute top priority while they built and restored the cabin. Professionals were specifically requested by the homeowner to updated the cabin, originally built in 1870, in a way that preserves and respects the history of the place, rather than just abolishing it and replacing it with something new and out of place.
This special renovation took two years to complete. This is partially because teams had to heartily winterize the dilapidated older structure and reinvent it in more environmentally and stylistically efficient ways. This required installation of a new roof, new floors, and new walls. Space was reorganized in the interior according to the homeowner’s wants and needs but builders ensured that the wood used in all aspects of the rebuild was local or harvested from the original structure. This ensured that the house fit in with the schemes and traditions seen in other houses in the area.
Inside, this wintery villa has two levels. While the ground floor features lovely guest bedrooms that are spaced to allow visitors free movement about the house, the master bedroom resides in a spacious upper loft. High ceilings there make the room feel opened almost right into the mountain range itself, particularly in combination with large, bright windows that continue all the way up to meet the ceiling. This stops the cabin from feeling dark and stuffy even on the shortest winter days.
In interesting contrast to the more traditional wooden log and stone foundation exterior that makes up this cabin, you’ll find a surprisingly unique interior decor scheme within its walls. Rather than looking even more like a Christmas hideaway inside, the decorative details reflect the adventures of the homeowner, telling an adventurous story through interior art! Furnishings and figures hailing from all different cultures and eras cover the walls and surfaces, harnessing beauty and stories from visits to Asia, Africa, and Europe.
Besides being garnered from all kinds of fantastic places, many of the pieces used to decorate the inside of the cabin are also garnered from antique sales and vintage stores. These two things in combination contrast beautifully with the wintery, wooden scene outside, giving the entire place a cheerful, warn, and intensely interesting atmosphere. Walking inside from the porch is like traveling from a nostalgic mountain home into a sophisticated New York loft!
The decor scheme isn’t the only thing that makes the cabin appear interestingly contrasted and wonderfully updated despite the strong remaining cabin atmosphere. Designers also installed solar power to the home, placing discreet but powerful panels on the roof to make it state of the art and energy efficient.
Photographs by Nuevo Estilo
By Courtney • Dec 18, 2018
Located in the beautiful French village of Le Puy-Sainte-Reparade, PietriArchitectes‘s project MaisonP nestles right into a cosy, sunny hillside. offering a panoramic view over the Alps. Surrounded by lush, dense greenery that makes the space feel refreshing and cheerful, the home looks mod and stylish on the outside but actually provides a private haven behind the bordering leaves.
During the design process, creative and building teams aimed to alter the natural land around the home as little as possible. Instead, they wished to incorporate the house into the landscape in a way that’s attractive and eye catching without detracting from the present beauty of the hillside cove. In building the actual foundation and structure, teams changed the natural slope of the hill minimally, leaving the space with a raw, wild feeling character and preserving its original appeal.
The house itself is made up of two separate parts with distinct features and purposes. Guests encounter the main house first, followed by a drystone outbuilding that serves as a relaxation area, social space, and pool house. Within the main house itself, there is also a neat division of space, just to make sure that guests make the most of everything it has to offer.
The first floor of the main house features a spacious garage, which comprises the first “volume” of the house and sits on the main floor. Wandering towards the second volume, you’ll find a welcoming entryway, a gorgeous kitchen, and a cozy living room area with seating set up for conversation. The third and final volume of the main house features four relaxing bedrooms, including the master bedroom, each decorated in a way that’s clutter free so as to appear calming rather than minimal.
Moving on from the main house and its three sections, you’ll find the outbuilding. This is a smaller structure of about 95 square metres and it sits slightly higher on the hillside than the main house. Here, you’ll find another lovely, socially driven seating area but within walls that slide back in order to create a very open concept space that blends interior and exterior experiences. This is convenient since it’s right next to the luscious pool!
Between the two main buildings of the house, you’ll encounter a stunning, plant-lined canal that reflects the land around it beautifully and causes a sense of quiet calm. Between that, the pond near the entryway, and the lengthy pool out back, it becomes clear that water plays as much of a role in establishing the way this house pays tribute to the nature around it as the luscious greenery throughout and around it does.
The way that MaisonP is divided, rather than being built as a monolith, might seem stylish or modern, but it’s actually conceptual and referential. The idea is to create an architectural composition by building things around valuable empty space, rather than just filling spaces with buildings. This idea is reminiscent of historical architectural styles in Provence, which are referred to as being “bioclimatic”.
Inside the home, colour and decor schemes are kept just as light, airy, and natural looking as the sunshine and plant life outside. Very light wood floors and light spilling in through countless windows keeps things bright and cheerful, eliminating the need for crowded decor or overwhelming colour. Instead, a few bright art pieces are scattered throughout in order to bring personality, but furnishings are otherwise kept to a clean white.
Photographs by Philippe Biolatto
By Courtney • Dec 17, 2018
The Woodsy Farmhouse Cabin by Wade Design Architects is a beautifully sprawling structure located in St. Helena, California. This project blends stone foundations and supports with smooth wooden interiors in a way that looks sleek and stylish but still entirely influenced by a down home, woodsy rustic feel.
Built on a breathtaking wine country property, the Woodsy Farmhouse Cabin was originally built as a guesthouse to the main building nestled into the trees and fields there. The primary homeowners intended to live in the main house when they vacationed in California at length, but they built the lovely Farmhouse Cabin in order to share their lovely wine country summers and experiences with friends, family, and guests in equal comfort.
The longer the original homeowners spent time in the vacation home, however, the more they realized that they actually preferred living in the stunning Farmhouse inspired guest house themselves! Something about the slightly smaller but much more efficient design of the building appealed to them and made them feel more comfortable and at home.
Boasting a comfortable 1,200 square feet, the Farmhouse Cabin greets guests with a warm aesthetic that feels just as comforting and welcoming as coming home after a long time away might. The primary goal in both designing and decorating the cabin as to make it appear as though it was built directly from the land it sits on. They also wanted to prioritize the stunning views their particular land plot offers; the working vineyard and mountain range in the distance are not to be missed!
In combination with those goals, designers also strove to achieve a relatively open-concept structure for the cabin. They wanted it to feel quite large despite its average size. Between this and the emphasis on large windows that frame the gorgeous outdoor view, the Farmhouse Cabin is flooded with lovely natural light and plenty of sun, without getting too hot during the day.
High ceilings inside the cabin help those feelings of spaciousness as well. The main living room, for example, features 24 foot vaulted ceilings supported with wooden pillars that add to the farmhouse aesthetic. This atmosphere is bolstered by a simple, clean decor scheme that sticks to woodsy, neutral tones and natural, clean material palettes. Reclaimed wood on the siding, walls, and ceilings pairs with naturally coloured concrete flooring to create a space that’s both durable and low-maintenance.
In contrast to the wood and stone, several steel elements can be seen dotted throughout the house. The most noticeable of these is, of course, the impressive fireplace in the middle of the living room. Besides drawing the eye and keeping the space warm on chilly evenings, this piece creates visual texture in comparison to the wooden walls and vaults around it.
Sticking with the spacious, open-concept theme, the living and dining rooms and the kitchen are all blended as a central space, allowing free movement between the three. The dark neutral colour scheme that’s predominant here was chosen specifically to make the rooms feel as though they blend with and come directly from the surrounding landscape, making the whole house feel cohesive with the beautiful scenery it’s nestled into.
As is the inside of the Farmhouse Cabin wasn’t appealing enough, it also features a wrapping verandah with a lovely, surprisingly comfortable seating area. This entices dwellers and guests out into the fresh air to listen to the soothing sounds of nature around them whenever the weather allows, which is often thanks to its fantastic Californian location.
Photographs by Paul Dyer Photography
Located in the hear of Sofia, Bulgaria, a wonderfully stylish and sensually dark dwelling called Villa 29 offers guests and owners a calmly modern experience in every room. Innovative architectural studio STUDIO LTD designed and decorated the space using “nothing absolutely new”, making the villa a unique combination of sleek aesthetics and vintage appreciation.
The villa was designed with the intention of creating endless connections between artistic shapes, natural or upcycled materials, and cutting edge technologies. The goal was to use elements that have been seen and experiences previously in new blends, ultimately creating something entirely unique and never before seen.
The villa was created specifically for a young professional couple and their two children, both under the age of ten. Because the villa is located within a city centre, in the heart of a residential complex, the goal was to make it at once stand out and blend in; the structure of the apartment must make sense with the needs of someone living a cosmopolitan lifestyle and yet also give them a place to retreat to at the end of a busy urban day.
Designers hoped to help the family blend various styles and experiences in one place; they wanted spaces for comfort but elements of high-tech living. They wanted sophistication for guest hosting but also elements of being close to nature in order to benefit their children.
Perhaps the most interesting feature of the house is that behind its vintage inspired and rather mod looking facade, it’s actually also a “smart-house”. This means that just about everything in the home can be controlled from a cell phone. This gives homeowners ultimate customizability within each room and ultimately saves physical and electronic energy alike. It also makes the home very accessible for those with varying physical needs or abilities.
Working with a unique blend of the designer’s visions and the homeowners wants and needs, the overall team established a space that’s unique in its physical construction as well, before you even consider its decor or how it functions. Asymmetrical ceilings opened up many possibilities for playing with symmetry, for example, so the team extended from that idea and built a space that features unique shapes and visual textures all throughout.
Once shapes and space definitions were established, material blends were chosen. The young couple owning the villa wanted a modern overall atmosphere but were intent on using a blend of soft, natural materials. This is why a combination of wood and stone offsets the sleek black colour schemes and mod shapes seen throughout the rooms.
Despite the strong presence of black in the decor scheme, designers and owners alike agreed that the darkness anchored the spaces in a comfortable way that was balanced by the lighter, natural materials and the impressively unique lighting choices. They also made sure to lighten the scheme in areas meant specifically for the children, instead building airy spaces that let the children physically enjoy the room by getting active on climbing structures and stairs built right into the walls and construction.
Overall, each party was pleased with the way the finished villa offsets itself in innumerable ways; a sense of calm and quiet is easy to find in rooms that are at once elusive and coherent, visually stimulating and technologically practical. The formulation of the villa’s aesthetic in itself was practically an artistic feat!
Photographs by Dian Stanchev
Sunny Teph Inlet House by Omar Gandhi Architect Gives Family Perfect Holiday Escape in Eastern Canada
By Courtney • Dec 14, 2018
Teph Inlet House is an impressively cubic, clean edges holiday home designed and built by teams at Omar Gandhi Architect. Located in Nova Scotia, Canada, it gives dwellers, guests, and passers by a fresh view from the street thanks to the way it differs in aesthetic and structure from surrounding buildings.
Originally designed as a holiday home for a young family, the Teph Inlet House sits not far from the ocean, nestled into its own little space in the village of Chester. The building is a two story main house with a nearby guest house, both impressively cuboid in their shape. These straight edges contrast agains the greenery and foliage around the border of the plot but also symmetrically complement the rectangular shape of the backyard pool and its paved outdoor space.
Rather than standing out in an unpleasant way, Teph Inlet House looks like a breath of fresh air, just like the kind guests might experience while staying there on a warm, sunny day. Thanks to an entirely glazed glass walling system on the ground floor, spanning all the way around the building, natural light and sunshine can flood the comfortable seating area for maximum relaxation.
Continuing that concept of being perfectly fit and linear, guests will notice how the garage at the front of the property lines up precisely with the pool house further back in the lot. This creates a sports area between the two buildings where the family can enjoy a whole range of activities, including (but not limited to) their very own working zipline!
After a long day of swimming in the sun, the family can enjoy warm summer evenings on the rear terrace, which provides an open view to the harbour beyond the property, with all its various docked and visiting boats. This terrace is also easily accessible to a grassy area with towering trees overhanging the edges, giving the kids some green space to enjoy when they’re not in the paved areas like the pool or the sports plot.
The way the main house, pool house, and garage are arrange on the plot establishes distinct sections of the property; a public entryway sort of area at the front and a more private, family driven area at the back. This is useful since the above mentioned glazed walls surrounding the ground floor actually slide back entirely, opening the bottom of the home into the leisure areas for a blended interior and exterior experience. This allows for very free movement from the terrace, sports plot, grass, and pool into the open-concept lounge, dining room, and kitchen area inside the glass doors.
Inside, guests will find an impressive doglegged staircase extending upward from the main living space. This is minimally furnished in a way that is clutter free rather than uncomfortable. Whitewashed marble and a pale colour scheme keeps things feeling light and airy, even when the fireplace at the end of the room is in action on chilly evenings.
Moving beyond the stairs, you’ll encounter a study, an ensuite bedroom, and a guest washroom. The way that a pocket door can be pulled from the wall, as well as a secondary entrance from the other side of the house can be accessed further down the corridor, means that this part of the house can be closed off or used as independent lodging from the rest of the house when guests stay for longer periods of time.
Traveling up the floating white oak stairs (which bolster the airy, light atmosphere), you’ll encounter an upper floor that’s equally sunny and bright thanks to continued emphasis on windows as well as several skylights. This is where you’ll see the master bedroom, complete with its walk-in closet and private bathroom. From the exterior, this section of the house is wrapped in a red cedar which looks stunning from the street.
Connecting from a long, sunny hallway, three more bedrooms and two additional bathrooms accommodate plenty of summertime guests, making Teph Inlet House the perfect social summer getaway for people of all ages. Each of these areas is perfect for taking in the surrounding landscape thanks to continued emphasis on windows and skylights, meaning no one gets ripped off of that harbour view.
Despite the minimal decor scheme and very light colour palette, Teph Inlet Home is by no means dull or monochromatic to look at. This is partially thanks to stone details and tiling that offset the copious white surfaces, as well as the herringbone pattern featured in the oak flooring all throughout the house.
Photographs by Ema Peter.
Spacious Modern Home La Serena Blends Textures and Lines Thanks to David James Architects & Partners
By Courtney • Dec 14, 2018
La Serena, designed and built by David James Architects & Partners, is a visually pleasing and structurally interesting home located in Canford Cliffs, United Kingdom.
Nestled into the very end of a peaceful cul-de-sac, the home offers a fantastic view of the Championship Parkstone Golf Course in the near distance, framing picturesque foliage and greens through just about any window. Designers achieved a unique goal in choosing that location because the way they framed the house all along the edges of the plot with maritime pine trees makes the course feel at once like part of the home’s experience but without sacrificing any privacy.
Despite the trees all around the house, designers ensured that sunlight still abounds on the grounds, as well as in the interior rooms. As the sun moves, it hits each point of the property at some hour, bathing that area in light for a time. Taking advantage of this in the placement and structure of the home was paramount for the owners.
Although the structure looks sparkling and new, it’s actually a restoration project that transformed a 1970s split-level house. If you think about some of the angles and waving lines in the construction and decor, this becomes less surprising to learn! The original structure had a driveway that the owners deemed two narrow and, while its two floors were a decent size, the physical design was uninspiring and bland to look at.
In their transformation, designers strove to take better advantage of the space and the stunning view it offers. They also aimed to explore how remodeling might create a house that better embraces its surroundings while simultaneously appearing to float above the landscape. In short, all parties involves wanted more visual interest that would also do the great natural setting more justice.
To do this, designers chose to work in a way that would create lines, textures, and shapes that are at once crisp and clean but also flowing. That idea of having good “flow” also translated into how they wanted the space to be used, so they aimed to create an interior layout that lets dwellers and guests flow from room to room during any point of modern living.
The goal of the house was to create a comfortable living space that was also dynamic, diverse in its function, and generally exceptional to experience. Their specific examples of how they could see the house being used ranged from a retirement home, a family getaway, or even a party house! Designers outlined four bedrooms, a number of relaxation and social areas, and several rooms specifically laid out for work or play.
Because it sits on a natural slope, designers were able to take advantage of that unique physicality by building a home that actually has three floors, despite looking like a two storey home. The house cascades gently but securely down the face of the slope, ending at the top in a stunning and rather large rear terrace.
Upon entering the home, a large foyer leads seamlessly into a formal lounge and an impressive study. From there, two staircases lead in different directions; one to the master suit on the top floor, as well as other guest bedrooms, and the other down into the primary living space and kitchen. This area is the space where the house’s layout and function really extends from and revolevs around. It features stunning floor to ceiling windows that perfectly frame the lovely golf course view.
In terms of decor, you’ll encounter a number of different materials and textures inside. Rather than looking haphazard, however, these contrasts play off the waving lines in things like walls and light fixtures, suiting the eclectic and cheerful atmosphere established all throughout the bedrooms and primary living spaces.
Outside the house, designers were intent on honouring the natural landscape by creating a garden that blends the structure into the surroundings more effectively. Here they placed a seating area from which guests can enjoy the fantastic view, but also seek some peaceful moments in green privacy. The exterior of the house is finished in basalt stone, Grespania wood ceramic tiling, and charcoal grey metal. These things help the house contrast less with the natural scene as well.
Photographs by: Tom Burn Media
Ultra Modern Swiss Mountain Hut by Savioz Fabrizzi Architectes Provides Winter Haven on a Rocky Ridge
By Courtney • Dec 10, 2018
Atop a rocky ridge in the Swiss alps, New Mountain Hut gleams in the sun, catching the eye of any adventurer willing to tackle the slopes. Designed and build by Savioz Fabrizzi Architectes, this unique housing project is located in Tracuit, Switzerland and boasts incredibly unique features that you’ll be hard pressed to find elsewhere.
The New Mountain Hut sits high up, at an impressive altitude of 3256 metres. It belongs to the Chaussy sector of the Swiss Apine Club and is nestled into the rocks at the heart of the Valaisan alps. Besides affording it 360 degrees of stunning mountain views that are nothing short of utterly breathtaking, the Hut’s uniquely central spot makes it the perfect starting point for climbing expeditions up the Bishorn, the Weisshorn, and the Tete de Milon.
Originally built in its first iteration in 1929, this mountain hut has been enlarged and restructured several times throughout the years. This was largely done to cope with a constant increase in guests seeking its peaceful, unique accommodations and the surprising level of comfort it offers. Now, the hut has had to be changed in a big way once more in order to meet lodging requirements based on health and safety, staffing, facilities, and environmental protection.
Because of the drastic requirements the club had to meet, the decision was made to abolish the original structure and start again in its place with an entirely modernized and refurbished version that pays homage to its predecessor. This was actually a cheaper project than outright transformation would have been and it also gave the club a chance to hold a riveting architectural competition to choose a design and professional team.
Working at this site presented several unique challenges, since the plot of land intended for building sits between a cliff and a glacier. This defined the shape and position of the new, more modern hut, which fits perfectly along the ridge above the cliff, settled right into the natural topography there. On the south side, the upper facade of the shining new building extends further from the cliff and functions as a solar panel, collecting clean energy to power the whole building.
All around the rest of the building, the metal facade reflects the stunning landscape around and glints in the sun in a way that makes it nothing short of stunning to look at. Out front of the building, guests can stand in an area called the Refectory, a flat social space where they can enjoy an “uninterrupted and plunging view” out over the Val de Zinal.
Because the building sits at such a high altitude, constructions method had to be adapted slightly from how they’d be performed elsewhere. This was also influenced by adversely cold and occasionally harsh weather conditions during the process of transporting building materials to the site. Even so, the structure was completed flawlessly and with impressive modern style.
Many of the wooden frame pieces, floor components, wall supports and insulated beams that went into building the house were actually prefabricated and airlifted to the site by helicopter. The outer panels of shining stainless steel arrived the same way, but the protection they provide the inner structure from weather and wind was entirely worth the trouble.
Between the compact shape of the building and the efficient way it’s insulated, the Hut has a hugely reduced rate of heat loss compared to its predecessors. A special low-tech ventilation system has also been put into place, letting the building recover heat emitted by the people staying in the building. This system also makes the inner environment more comfortable and, additionally, it prevents mould growth during the annual months when the lodgings are closed for the season.
Photographs by: Thomas Jantscher
By Courtney • Dec 3, 2018
The innovative and interesting Split House is a two-volume but interconnected home experience designed and built by hsu-rudolphy in the lovely countryside of Chile. Because the clients wished for the adult and children’s spaces to be as separated as possible while still residing together, a connected two-volume structure was proposed and used. The adult wing and the youth wing are connected by a gallery hall that also features a joint “main house” area where shared social spaces can be enjoyed all together, regardless of age.
The project is a vacation house on the edge of Lake Rupanco where a family of parents and young adults spends leisure time together. The main requirement put forth by the clients was that the home be formulated to at once created a place the family can retreat to together but also distinct areas where they can enjoy themselves separately on occasion while they’re there.
Once the separate spaces were planned, the owners requested that the stunning view surrounding their plot be treated as a secondary priority. Each volume, hallway, and enclosure should have a clear view of the lovely lake below the house. Because the house is situated on a very narrow strip of land that actually juts out into the lake itself, the owners were afforded a bonus view of the Osorno volcano from the main house as well, thanks to huge picturesque windows.
Guests often notice that the volumes of this house are wrapped in such a way that they face intriguing angles from the outside. Although this was beneficial to the view, it actually had a different motivation originally. This layout was intended to created a home with lots of space while also taking up as little of the natural land on the plot as possible. The wrapping layout you see is a successful attempt at space efficiency without sacrificing square footage in the home.
Because the remote location of the home’s plot is actually quite difficult to access, the project was kept very local. Crews from the immediate area were hire and locally sourced woods and steels were used to provide durability, quality, and also height in order to allow maximum light into each room in both volumes.
Here, you’ll see the cozy seating areas and light, welcoming decor schemes of the adult volume, as well as the smooth, spacious, and roomy aesthetic of the youth volume that leaves plenty of open space for activities and play.
Photography by: Gabriel Rudolphy and Ian Hsu
By Courtney • Dec 3, 2018
The innovatively built and relaxing Box House, created by Flavio Castro and teams, is located in the sunny hills of Sao Paulo, Brasil, where it gives guests a blended indoor-outdoor experience unparalleled by the homes around it.
This home, located in an average residential neighbourhood, was designed and brought to life by a young architect for himself and his loved ones. He opted to work with the size of the existing plot rather than applying for expansions, building upward and blending interior and exterior spaces in order to create a sense of spaciousness and airy, free movement.
The effect of having zenith openings (or sliding pocket doors in each wall of the house, no matter the floor) is one of blurring the lines between property and home, making indoor spaces feel like open patios and vice versa. This is a unique quality afforded by the stellar weather in the city, and Castro didn’t hesitate for a moment to take full advantage of that warm, sunny quality.
From the street, the house appears just like its name suggests; it’s a modern looking, cubic box made primarily of metal! This was intentional because the facade is slightly intimidating and very secure in the public side of the structure that faces the street. On the private side, however, you emerge from a hallway into an area that contrasts intensely from the opaque box you thought you were entering. Pops of colour and floating stairs amplify the playfully modern quality one can sense immediately upon entering.
On the private sides of the house, on both floors, the metal materials are replaced with pristine glass walls that slide open to create an entirely open-concept and blended area of the kitchen and living room. This structure is mimicked on the top floor as well, without opening the walls entirely and rendering the elevated space unsafe. The overall effect from the outside is that the house appears to float, particularly at night!
The way the living spaces are integrated with the outdoor area is particularly lovely thanks to lush greenery and abundant gardens at the back of the house. On days where the weather isn’t conducive to enjoying the open air, the glass walls and the metal facade can be closed, one at a time or together, making the space extremely customizable.
On the rooftop, an entire additional outdoor space provides a unique inner city haven where guests can lounge in the sun on uniquely shaped modern furniture (not unlike the pieces you’ll find inside the house as well). The garden on the rooftop completes the theme and establishes a distinct relationship with Box House’s surroundings. This idea is bolstered by the fact that the whole house is heated and powered using low-impact, energy efficient systems and solar panels.
Photographs by: Pedro Kok
By Courtney • Nov 27, 2018
As if the location name of this house (which is nestled amidst the greenery in Carmel-by-the-Sea, United States) wasn’t adorable enough, Feldman Architecture named the structure Butterfly House, rendering it perhaps the most welcoming sound home we’ve ever heard of before we even set eyes on it!
Butterfly House was designed for an aging couple who intended to use it as a retirement retreat after a lifetime of hard work, as well as a relaxing escape for their grown children to give them a break from the everyday demands of work life. The search for this spectacular piece of land took two whole years, which motivated the designers to really do the area justice. When the clients found the plot, they noted countless butterflies fluttering through the meadow, which is why architects took that concept as inspiration and namesake for the house itself.
As part of doing the landscape justice, designers and the client agreed that the house should strive to integrate indoor and outdoor spaces. They aimed to keep the aesthetic modern but simple with separate spaces for everyday living and visitors who want to rest. This is why the house was built with three distinct pavilions, each with their own impressive butterfly inspired roof.
Each pavilion of Butterfly House has its own function. The central pavilion, for example, contain the main living, dining, and cooking spaces. The other two provide everything residents and guests need for sleeping, bathing, and relaxing on their downtime. Though each pavilion is modest in size, all three feel free and sprawling thanks to the way each one opens out at the back into a lovely outdoor space set up like a room, giving visitors a stunning view of the canyon below the house and the Californian hills surrounding it in the distance.
One of our favourite facts about this house is that the butterfly inspired roofs aren’t just decorative! Although they do give the house an artsy feel that’s both modern but also cohesive with the natural landscape, they also harvest rainwater. This is an important “green” architectural feature in California, where water is an increasingly limited resource. Each roof funnels water into landscape integrated collection pools, which then funnel it into cisterns used to irrigate the natural landscape.
Particularly in the stormy season, the butterfly roofs are an innovation because they work with the natural topography of the area to carry water to parts of the land that need it. This creates what designers called a “seamless transition” between nature and building, a concept this mimicked throughout the home and each of the three pavilions. This is thanks in part to the inclusion of plants in the indoor and outdoor decor schemes, letting greenery move through the building the way water moves through the land. These elements inspire a calming sense of quiet and naturally artful awareness.
Keeping with the theme of enabling a natural flow of all things between indoor and outdoor areas, the colour scheme of the house is quite neutral as well. This is reflected in the concrete floors and walls, large glass windows and opening doors, plywood ceilings, and steel supports. These natural surfaces also keep the space cool without running systems that put a strain on the environment; concrete and glass absorb much of the sunlight and heat during the day and releasing it at night when things cool down. The house uses very little energy as a result of this and a hidden solar panel system that runs nearly everything inside.